David T. Mitrou is no stranger to the excitement of baseball. He’s played the sport all his life: as an undergrad at Ithaca College and as a five-time all-star with the Revere Rockies who were then of the Boston Baseball League, which fields the area’s top amateur competition. But nothing could have prepared him for the rush he felt when he stepped onto the Fenway Park pitcher’s mound in front of 30,000 screaming Red Sox fans.
“You got the sense of what it’s like to be a major league player,” Mitrou says. “The fans were going nuts.”
But he wasn’t there to pitch to Derek Jeter. The McCormack Firm partner was there to play a Sox pitcher in the Farrelly Brothers’ Fever Pitch.
“Through the manager of my team I had heard about an open casting call for baseball players,” he says. All he knew was that scenes were to be filmed at Fenway. That was enough for him. “I went to the casting office, took a Polaroid headshot, and filled out the application.”
A couple of days later, Mitrou got a call back. “I’d like to say they chose me because I had star quality,” he says with a laugh. “But I’ve been playing baseball since I was 6, and I think they just wanted people who look like baseball players.”
After being outfitted in authentic Red Sox jerseys –– Mitrou wore No. 68 –– the extras waited in the bowels of the stadium while Curt Schilling notched his 20th win in the heat of the summer 2004 pennant race. “We didn’t know what was going to happen or where we were going to go,” he says.
A producer gathered the extras and told them what positions to play on the field. More extras than were needed showed up, and at first Mitrou didn’t get picked. But he noticed that no one had been assigned to be the pitcher; he spoke up and got the role. And before he knew it, the real game was over and Mitrou and his “teammates” were running onto the field. The adrenaline-pumped crowd was still rabid from the night’s victory, creating a perfect environment for filming the movie.
That’s when, like a true thespian, Mitrou decided to ad lib his part. When Drew Barrymore raced across the field to embrace Jimmy Fallon during the film’s climactic scene, Mitrou decided to fire a fastball to the catcher. “It wasn’t in the script, but I figured I was standing on the mound in Fenway in front of 30,000 people, I might as well throw a few pitches,” he says. His first pitch was a strike, and the fans cheered. But his next two tosses were balls, and the crowd let him have it.
“I guess,” Mitrou says, “the fans are brutal no matter who’s on the mound.”